listen here (available online for a week, in French)
France Culture is a public network, heavy on highbrow culture (philosophy, art, history, psychology, religion...), a haven for quality content, and yet put an end to 3 years of the best panel discussion on cinema... A radio show, hosted by Claire Vassé, I only discovered in 2005, and is not even archived online. It was my weekly fix for serious film talk, cinema reflexion, pertinent questioning, profound insights, and insider perspectives of certain filmmakers on the films of other filmmakers. I got more substance out of these informal verbal chattering between auteurs than from any formal print critics! Filmmakers aren't always very comfortable talking about their own films, but their passion shines when they reveal their vision of cinema through their commentary, the expression of their experience of films that are not theirs.
- The discussion begins with a clip from Renoir's Une Partie de Campagne, selected by Marie Vermillard. The scene of the girl sharing with her mother about her blooming desir and her growing passion for grass, water, insects like an overwhelming sensation that makes her want to cry. Summarized in this scene, cinema is life.
- Marie Vermillard cites Fernando Pessoa on the regard (Caeiro) : "I am at the size of what I see", a reflexion closely relevant to the experience of cinema, before the big screen, facing the dimension of the frames
- Pascal Bonitzer cites Eisenstein : "The close up of a cockroach is more impressive than a wide shot of hundred elephants" traducing the plastic emotionality of filmic framing.
- Brigitte Rouan is annoyed by the poor format of French cinema this year, trivial, she wants a more radical cinema like Desplechin. She regrets the disappearing of this space of resistance (the radio show) that championned obscur filmmakers like Stephen Dwoskin.
- Catherine Breillat : Man is an animal with naked skin and speech. The body language, the language of silence, of regard, of flesh.
- Philippe Le Guay cites Deleuze : "The decomposition of cristal, process of decomposition of the image by Visconti"
Philosophers teach us how to read images we make. We believe we know our images, and they are re-interpretated by someone else.
This radio broadcast was a place to re-invent images. Our opinion on a film doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if we like Visconti or not. Shift of appropriation. To change our point of view through speech is what makes cinema important, something to talk about.
- Khalil Joreige : Cinema is a place of thought. It's not a matter of taste, but a field of exploration that has to do with our existence and our approach.
- Catherine Breillat : Cinema is the place for the discovery of the world. Cinema is a metamorphosis of human thought becoming concrete. Place of work and human conscience.
- Brigitte Roüan says the feedback of the audience who amplify a film through their own words, an perspective the filmmaker couldn't even imagine, is emotionaly moving her to tears sometimes.
- Philippe Grandrieux proposes a clip from the opening of Dreyer's Ordet. The word can ressurect life, something becomes possible when the speech is pronounced and heard. The sound of the father calling his son, and the sound of the animals (reminder/vertigo of animality). The great question of cinema is its capacity to make us feel we are alive.
This radio broadcast was important to put together filmmakers who are not meant to face eachother and talk about other films, and their own relationship to cinema.
- Emmanuel Mouret : "Cinema does resurrect life. Cinema IS life, not aside of life. Often we say reality inspires cinema, but cinema is also there to inspires reality"
- Dominique Cabrera cites "Pierre-Auguste Renoir, mon père" book by Jean Renoir. The paintor fought the motif, he painted nude bodies, and found himself in this nudity.
The sexual desire to film a body, a face, weaving a life pulsion with the director's personal history.
- Philippe Le Guay cites Ophüls "The greatest quality of cinema is vitality" because vitality cannot be enclosed in an idea.
- Philippe Grandrieux : What matters is the nature and the origin of the "gesture" of the artist. A director doesn't frame his shots with the eyes, but from within, something inside, in order to see something, to mean something. Beauty for itself is grotesque, the quality of a merchandise.
Sad day for thought-provoking Film Discussion, as listening to filmmakers talking about their art is too rare and precious...